Mario Salvadori


Mario Salvadori

Educator – Structural Engineer – Designer – Author – Lecturer

International Authority – Teaching – Humanities

Fifty-second National Honor Member Nominated by the Manhattan College Chapter

Dr. Mario G. Salvadori began his service to our profession in 1940 as Lecturer at Columbia University. He continued there until he retired in 1990, at which time he became James Renwick Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Architecture at Columbia University.

Throughout a long and distinguished career as educator, engineer, and humanist, Mario Salvadori developed a world-wide reputation as one of the eminent civil engineers in the world, and a person known for excellence and innovation. In recognition of his contributions to civil engineering and his service to the profession and to humanity, Salvadori received the highest honor of the American Society of Civil Engineers by his election in 1982 as Honorary Member. In 1993, Dr. Salvadori became the 53rd recipient of the Hoover Medal “for outstanding, imaginative, and dedicated public service in teaching science and mathematics to inner city children and transforming education to provide economic opportunity to disadvantaged students.”

Mario G. Salvadori was born in 1907 in Rome, Italy, and held doctoral degrees in civil engineering and pure mathematics from the University of Rome, 1937. In 1939, he came to America, and in 1940, began his career at Columbia University. His positions at Columbia University included Lecturer through Professor of Civil Engineering, 1940-72; Founder and Chairman, Division of Architectural Technology, 2965-73; Professor of Architecture, 1959-90; James Renwick Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Architecture. He also served as Lecturer/Professor of Architecture at Princeton University, 1954-59.

Dr. Salvadori’s professional interests included structural design, numerical engineering, structural use of concrete, analysis and design of space frames, space trusses and shells, research on dynamic problems of soils and special structures, and forensic engineering. One of the most notable of his projects was the CBS building in New York City.

In 1945, he began his association with Weidlinger Associates, Consulting Engineers in New York City, as a consultant, becoming a partner in 1961, and retiring in 1992 as Chairman of the Board. He continued as Honorary Chairman of the Board of Weidlinger Associates. Salvadori received more than 27 different honorary awards, and in 1978, became the first member of the Faculty of Engineering to be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science by Columbia University. He served in many professional and administrative capacities in technical and professional societies over the past 57 years, including American Institute of Architects (Honorary Member), ASCE (Honorary Member), American Concrete Institute (Fellow), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (Fellow), International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, and New York Academy of Sciences (Fellow).

Salvadori’s work in teaching science and mathematics to New York’s inner city children led to the establishment of the Salvadori Educational Center on the Build Environment. He published 18 books and some 150 technical papers. In recent years, his attention centered on educating the public on topics in engineering and architecture particularly his prize-winning 1979 book, Building: The Fight Against Gravity. Two of the best examples of his ability to explain complex material in a simple manner are the books, Why Buildings Stand Up (1980) and his 1992 book co-authored by Mattys Levy, Why Buildings Fall Down.

Mario Salvadori was first elected to Chi Epsilon as a Chapter Honor Member on November 2, 1994, at Manhattan College, Chapter No. 32, chartered in 1949, with a general member number of 74, 468 and a chapter number of 955. The Supreme Council was privileged to elevate Mario G. Salvadori to be the 52nd National Honor Member of Chi Epsilon on January 23, 1996, at the Cooper Union, New York City.

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